Proverbs and Child Protection: A Case Study of Three Bantu Languages: Luganda, Lusoga and Runyankole

TitleProverbs and Child Protection: A Case Study of Three Bantu Languages: Luganda, Lusoga and Runyankole
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBukuluki, P, Nnyombi, A, Rwemisisi, JT, Luwangula, R, Mukuye, R, Ddumba-Nyanzi, I
Book TitleChild Abuse and Neglect in Uganda
KeywordsChild protection, Cultural resources, Culture, language, Norms, Proverbs, Uganda

Culture enshrines diverse resource elements that have potential to protect children against various forms of violence and abuse. Such elements include proverbs embedded in different languages. Proverbs are generally used in various forums and contexts to communicate messages, beliefs and norms relevant for social and cultural interaction. Some of these proverbs embed messages relevant for child protection and abuse. Available literature shows that the potential carried by proverbs has not been systematically studied and utilized for prevention of child abuse and promotion of child protection across different cultures. Based on data collected from three Bantu languages (Luganda – traditional language of the Buganda community, Lusoga – traditional language of the Busoga community, and Runyankole – traditional language of the Ankole community), the chapter examines the meaning and implication of proverbs for child protection. The paper concludes that proverbs carry latent messages for promoting child protection. However their use could also instigate attitudes, values and practices that expose children to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence. Therefore, child protection programs should harness the positive cultural resources as well as develop culturally sensitive interventions that seek to deal with the messages in proverbs that do not match with key values and principles of child protection.